By Mary Plummer[Picture caption: Music teacher and former principal Carl Schafer has logged about 1,700 miles during his three-year quest to get arts taught in California's public schools. Mary Plummer/KPCC]
"There’s a little-known law that requires California's public schools to teach dance, theater, visual arts and music. Most school districts ignore it. Carl Schafer is on a mission to change that.
Schafer has spent the last three years lobbying to get arts instruction to every student in the state.
"When I first started doing this and bringing it up, there were lots of people in very important positions in education who were not aware," he said.
Since then, Schafer has made it his personal crusade to ensure the law is enforced. He's had meetings with state Sen. Carol Liu; Rick Pratt, the chief consultant to the state Assembly Committee on Education; and California Congressman Ted Lieu.
Schafer's made some progress. State Sen. Ben Allen is considering calling for an informational hearing to tackle the subject of arts instruction in the education code. The California Arts Council has also agreed to discuss the education code at a September meeting in Santa Cruz.
Schafer thinks all schools can offer arts instruction as mandated by the state.
"I think it’s attainable," he said. "It’s really, I think, a matter of learning how to do it." ...
"Nationwide, 42 states require the arts be taught from elementary to high school. But in recent years, the recession and an emphasis on standardized testing led to arts funding cuts in many school districts."...
Benjamin Zander has two infectious passions: classical music, and helping us all realize our untapped love for it -- and by extension, our untapped love for all new possibilities, new experiences, new connections.
..."If you live in San Francisco, California, then you may be lucky enough to come across the art of Andres Amador. He doesn’t paint or sculpt. He prefers a medium that is temporary but absolutely beautiful: a sandy beach at low tide. He uses a rake to create works of art that can be bigger than 100,000 sq. ft."
"He spends hours creating these intricate masterpieces, knowing that the tide will soon come in and wash away his work forever.
For Andres, his art is “more about the process and less about the result.”"
"By Lori Day – In mid-January, this article on The Huffington Post hit my Facebook newsfeed like a Justin Bieber deportation petition—it was everywhere. In it, HuffPost Family News Editor Jessica Samakow writes:
'Pay attention, 2014 Mad Men: This little girl is holding a LEGO set. The LEGOs are not pink or “made for girls.” She isn’t even wearing pink. The copy is about “younger children” who “build for fun.” Not just “girls” who build. ALL KIDS. In an age when little girls and boys are treated as though they are two entirely different species by toy marketers, this 1981 ad for LEGO — one of our favorite images ever — issues an important reminder.'
Something about this piece with the iconic 1981 ad tapped the zeitgeist and it became one of HuffPo’s more viral articles in recent memory, receiving over 60,000 shares. And along the way, the small world of Facebook led to a comment thread on my wall where someone, upon seeing the little red-haired girl holding her LEGOs, wrote, “Hey, I know her!” And now I do too, because that’s the serendipity of social media. Her name is Rachel Giordano, she is 37 years old, and she’s a practicing naturopathic doctor in Seattle, Washington. Giordano agreed to talk to me about her childhood and the ad, and to pose for a new Then & Now photo meme, which you see above in the lead image."...
"Lois (8) asks Neil deGrasse Tyson about dyslexia in the field of astrophysics. The response of the people who approached her following her question was heartwarming. Thanks, NDT for inspiring so many."...
"The annual “winterim” trip to San Diego taken by the seventh and eighth graders at Alexander Dawson School in Lafayette, Colo., will be missing one element this year. The students will no longer be visiting SeaWorld, thanks to the efforts of one intrepid eighth grader named Phoebe Goldstein.
Goldstein, a longtime opponent of whale and dolphin captivity, had heard of other schools nearby that took field trips to the marine park. When she heard that her own school was planning a trip, she was shocked — and driven to action."...
[4:07]..."We don't read and write poetry because it's cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for.
To quote from Whitman, "O me! O life!... of the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless... of cities filled with the foolish; what good amid these, O me, O life?"
Answer. That you are here - that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse.
That the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse.
What will your verse be?"
Thank you for your gifts, humor, and inspiration.... Rest in Peace Robin Williams.
Atlas Obscura is a collaborative project. We depend on our far-flung community of explorers (like you!) to help us discover amazing, hidden spots, and share them with the world. If you know of a curious place that's not already in the Atlas, let us know.
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The Public School 22 Chorus in Staten Island, N.Y., a nationally renown musical sensation comprised entirely of 5th graders, dedicated their final song of the year to their teacher battling breast cancer.
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